For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092516.cfm
The Story of Lazarus and the rich man in this Sunday’s Gospel is very well known. Lazarus was a poor man “covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.” When he died “he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.” The rich man likewise died and “from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far-off and Lazarus at this side. And he cried out ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am suffering in torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad, …………Moreover between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’” The rich man tried to convince Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them, but Abraham replied: “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.”
I think there are three things this Gospel tells us. 1. It wasn’t that the rich man refused Lazarus’ request for assistance. Rather, even though he knew Lazarus by name, he didn’t notice Lazarus’ need. 2. The rich man thought only of himself. It never occurred to him to share his wealth with those who were less fortunate. 3. The rich man was in the netherworld, because of the choices he made in this life. In a similar way our choices in this life determine where we will spend eternal life. There are no “do overs” or second chances once we have died.
Our first reading this Sunday shares the theme of the Gospel. Speaking in God’s name the prophet Amos excoriates those who were indifferent to the needy. “Woe to the complacent in Zion! …………… Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”
We continue to read from the first Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy for our second reading this Sunday. In the section we read this weekend, Paul encourages Timothy to “Compete well for the faith.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you come to realize after the fact that you failed to notice someone in need?
- Have you ever regretted some of the choices you have made that were selfish or self serving?
- How does one compete well for the faith?